The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide is expanding its mission. Previously we have proclaimed our mission as “For the Automotive Air Conditioning and Cooling System Professional.” The new tagline is “Total Vehicle Climate and Thermal Management.™” Here is our rationale for that.
MACS believes it’s time to expand its mission. While the electronics revolution started many years before, all 2008 and newer passenger cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. utilize a Control Area Network (CAN). CAN systems are also used in virtually all heavy trucks, construction vehicles and agricultural equipment.
In a vehicle with a CAN bus, anything with a wire connected to it likely communicates with a computer. In addition to the powertrain, a computer also controls lighting, power steering and brake functions, entertainment and communication accessories, and of course, the climate control system. When someone turns on a car’s air conditioning, a computer (or computers) will look at “mission-critical” systems first, like powertrain, brakes, steering, battery charge, etc., then check a handful of other items like interior and exterior ambient temperatures, and then decide if conditions permit air conditioning operation. If conditions do not permit, air conditioning will not commence. This can be normal operation, and a technician must understand that the problem may be in one of these other systems and that finding it will require proficiency with electrical and electronic test equipment.
As noted in the State of the Industry report presented at the 2013 MACS Convention, repair and service opportunities continue to steadily diminish as mechanical systems become more refined and more reliable, particularly air conditioning refrigerant systems. A new generation of even more sophisticated automotive technology is hitting the road right now, and as older models are retired, success and profit in the service industry will rely heavily on technicians’ understandings of electrical systems, computers and electronic control networks, and the tools needed to deal with them.
“Total vehicle climate and thermal management” would include things like cooling systems for battery packs in hybrid and electric vehicles, new climate control technologies such as heat pumps, and other thermal management technologies that emerge in the future. Most importantly, MACS would focus on electrical and electronic diagnostics of these technologies and other systems that affect their operation.
By proactively defining a “total vehicle climate and thermal management” service arena, MACS can preserve and even expand market opportunities for its members.
MACS Chairman Andy Fiffick has appointed a committee to continue to explore this issue, and the committee needs your input. Please contact me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org